Saturday, 16 November 2019

Research

Liquid crystal Gels

Liquid crystals (LCs) are unique soft systems with long range ordering which is a characteristic of solids in spite of their liquid-like fluidity. Due to their inherent shape anisotropy, coupled with delicate balance between their energy and ordering, they exhibit a rich multitude of mesomorphic states with varying degrees of order in between crystalline solids and isotropic liquids. This renders a possibility to tune their elastic energy and switch the molecules between their anisotropic limits, which are the key phenomena driving the remarkably successful progression of Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) technology over several decades.

Physical gels are known for their hierarchical self-assembly formed through non-covalent interactions which immobilize the surrounding fluid medium. One attractive feature of gels is their ability to retain the fluidity microscopically in spite of their macroscopic solid-like behavior. This phenomenon, complemented by the anisotropy of LCs has resulted in several technologically useful electric, magnetic and optical field induced phenomena.

 

 Nanostructured hybrid gels

LC gels, although highly stimuli responsive, suffer from the drawbacks such as inability to form  free-standing films and narrow thermal range. A synergetic approach combining the chemical and physical gelation mechanisms are being explored to improve these parameters.